Everywhere Beauty Is Harlem : The Vision of Photographer Roy DeCarava

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A child of the Harlem Renaissance and an artistic collaborator of Langston Hughes, Roy DeCarava is an unsung hero of Black history. Convinced that the lives of ordinary Black people deserved to be immortalized and documented in photos, Roy celebrated Black people through his art, a process that the incomparable author Gary Golio and illustrator E. B. Lewis capture in this beautiful picture book.

“Life is how you look at it.” And for Black photographer Roy DeCarava, life in his neighborhood was beautiful. Follow Roy through 1940s Harlem, as he takes out his camera, pops in a roll of film, and opens his eyes to the beauty all around him. There’s a little boy drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. SNAP! A young man at the bus stop with a baby in his arms. SNAP! Kids playing in an open fire hydrant. SNAP! Looking at them all, Roy sees beauty everywhere in Harlem, and so do the people who look at his photos.

This deeply researched picture book also includes additional information on DeCarava, a list of places to view his photos, a bibliography, and photos.

 

 A visual artist, musician, and psychotherapist, Gary Golio is the author of the New York Times–bestselling picture book Jimi: Sounds Like A Rainbow, which received the 2011 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. His other books, most of which profile important artists, include When Bob Met WoodyStrange Fruit, and most recently Sonny Rollins Plays the Bridge.

The recipient of multiple honors including a Caldecott Honor and an Orbis Pictus Award, E. B. Lewis is the illustrator of more than seventy books for children. His Calkins Creek titles include Seeking Freedom by Selene Castrovilla and Lizzie Demands a Seat by Beth Anderson, which won the Bank Street Flora Stieglitz Straus Award for excellence in fiction, along with many other honors. He is also the illustrator of Invincible by Wade Hudson.

★ "With skillful use of line, light, and depth, Lewis transports readers and conveys the vision of an artist honoring the city he loves. Golio’s understated text makes judicious use of profound quotes from DeCarava himself on beauty and truth. Present-tense narration carries the energy of a vibrant neighborhood as seen through the attentive eyes of a brilliant visionary, while artistic details connote the period-specific portrait DeCarava drew of mid-20th-century Harlem. This memorable offering is one readers will return to for moments of inspiration." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ "In an image-centered picture book that summons the senses, the creators navigate Harlem through the lens of photographer Roy DeCarava (1919–2009)...DeCarava captures it all—and so too do Golio and Lewis—in this luminous tribute." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ "This joyful, exuberant picture book biography of Roy DeCarava does exactly what he strove to do through his photography: capture the beauty of Harlem...The text is quiet and brief, relying heavily on quotes from DeCarava himself and trusting the art to tell most of the story. And it does so with ease, as Lewis’ exceptional watercolors bring a celebratory vibe, evoking the permanence and intangibility of catching single instances using a medium that is inherently fragile. Much like a photo, each page is a fully realized artistic vision of a moment in a world that moves on just beyond the borders of what can be seen...An inspired audience will certainly go online to find DeCarava’s exceptional photography, and it is to Golio and Lewis’ significant credit that young readers can see more nuance and wonder in those photos having been given the context this book provides." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"A spare, poetic text emphasizes his love for the neighborhood where [DeCarava] grew up, which was the subject of his long, prolific career...watercolors create a fluid, dreamy world where DeCarava could quietly snap away while walking the streets of Harlem on a warm, sunny afternoon. The pictures portray a neighborhood in motion, oblivious to the artist who spent a lifetime reflecting the vibrancy of a place and people." —The Horn Book
 

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